Philippe Brandeis, organist at the Invalides Cathedral, will pay a particularly moving homage to Belgian, German, French, American and British composers who suffered as a result of the war or died at the Front. Christmas Prelude by the young Australian Olympic champion and composer F.S. Kelly will be performed a few days before the centenary of his disappearance on the Somme (16 November 1916).
This performance is one of the six concerts scheduled for 2016 as part of the “Verdun, des musiques pour une bataille” (Verdun, Music for a Battle) programme. To mark the reopening of the museum, this programme of concerts will share with audiences the often unexpected or forgotten musical dimension of the First World War. The programme includes music written in or about Verdun, some of it “high-brow”, some popular in style e.g. chamber music, musical theatre, cabaret and songs sung by the soldiers. The concerts will also pay homage to the German music that continued to inspire classical musicians and composers serving in the armed forces. Belgian, British and Australian composers who lost their lives at the Front will also be included through a solemn commemoration in the form of an organ recital at the end of the programme. The performers, all of them well known in France and internationally, are particularly committed to the commemoration of the Great War in five subject areas – a new look at Verdun’s musical heritage, popular songs and shows, remembrance, passing on skills and knowledge and, lastly, commemoration.
Listen to Célébrations, Les musiciens et la Grande Guerre, vol. VIII, Editions Hortus : Christmas Prelude (1915) by Frederick Septimus Kelly (1881-1916), performed by Philippe Brandeis, Cathédrale Saint-Louis des Invalides organ, Paris.